History & Mentalphysics

Joshua Tree Retreat Center is the home of Edwin Dingle’s vision for The Institute of Mentalphysics, City of Joy, where his founding belief of inclusive yet autonomous paths to personal truth, is celebrated and honored.


"Moved by a sense of the tranquil nobility and eternal beauty of the desert, I have planned, not a city of asphalt, paving and steel, or the tight mechanical grid and congested living barracks but a city of the Desert, spacious, free-sweeping; its broad floor carpeted by myriads of desert blossoms; its residents dwelling at peace, and sharing with the soil, sky and trees, their joy of living, its centuries-old Joshua trees standing like sentinels above its homes."
- Edwin J Dingle


The story that has been passed down is that Edwin J. Dingle (who had already started the Institute of Mentalphysics in Los Angeles) was guided to the Desert in 1941. As rays of light poured over the landscape, he heard a voice say, “The desert will bloom like a rose, someday there shall be cities built around the land. Great highways shall lead here as a place of respite.”  He raised funds with the help of his Mentalphysics students and bought the property housing the retreat campus and acres of desert land for contemplation.

Six years later several beautiful buildings were built reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, whom Dingle had sought the help of to build the city. For Dingle, it was of utmost importance that the layout of the buildings exist on ley lines - lines of energy within the earth - fostering a connection to the land. Wright felt this was an important undertaking but he clashed with Dingle and ultimately passed the job on to his son, Lloyd Wright, a less-recognized master in his own right.

The Wrights and Organic Architecture:  "The land is the simplest form of architecture," Wright wrote in 1937. "Building upon the land is as natural to man as to other animals, birds, or insects." So, when does a building become architecture? Wright believes architecture is formed by the human spirit, and that a mere building does not know this spirit. "It is a spirit by and for man, a spirit of time and place. And we must perceive architecture, if we are to understand it at all, to be a spirit of the spirit of man that will live as long as man lives."


MENTALPHYSICS  a Holistic Approach to Spiritual Development.

Edwin J Dingle

Edwin John Dingle, known as Ding Le Mei to over 220,000 students of the Science of Mentalphysics worldwide, was born in England in 1881. He later became a journalist establishing a publishing empire in Hong Kong and Shanghai.  Risking his life on both a mapping expedition and spiritual quest across China in the early 1900’s, he entered into Tibet.   There he discovered the mysteries of Asia and India, secret wisdom, passed along from master to pupil, from wise man to wise man, for countless ages, beginning, perhaps, six or seven thousand years ago.  In his quest for spiritual knowledge he became one of the first Westerners to enter a Tibetan Monastery.  It was there that he was recognized as a highly evolved soul, and therefore stayed to study for a long period of time.

For 20 years he traveled through China, India and Tibet. Upon his return to the West, he began sharing the teachings and practices he had learned in Tibet, first in New York (1927) and later in Los Angeles, California ( where he founded the Institute of Mentalphysics in 1928).  The Institute was then moved to Yucca Valley, California, the land acquired in 1941.

Ding Le Mei (Edwin J. Dingle) combined the spiritual wisdom of the East with religious knowledge of the West to form a Super Yoga. The teachings of Mentalphysics combine ancient universal truths, breathing exercises, diet control, recognizing and working with one's individual chemistry, exercises, and meditation. New students are introduced to the universal laws which, if followed, are believed to lead to mastery of oneself and all of Life.

The Science of Mentalphysics teaches that Prana or life energy, is a substance, a subtle form of energy that both animates life and carries intelligence. It is universally distributed and is what the Soul uses to communicate with. Using the mind-substance, as activated through the Breath of Life – 8 Key Breaths, one is able to activate the creative powers within. Students are also instructed in meditation, which leads toward tapping universal wisdom and development as a mystic. As a mystic one understands truth, life, and one's potential through experience.

Mentalphysics is a "Faultless Philosophy of Life" that will deepen your connection to Source, whatever your religion or beliefs. Mentalphysics is an experiential method of self-realization that teaches the oneness of life embodied in all substance, energy and thought. A "Science of Feeling". The teachings come passed down for thousand of years from Tibetan Monasteries in the Himalayas designed for the development of Body, Mind and Spirit and transformation of consciousness. . The Coursework involves years of experiential study (The Initiate Group Course, The Inner Chamber, and The Preceptor's Course, Teacher Training Course), all of which deepen understanding as life goes on. The work consists of Breathwork practices and exercises to build up Prana, or Life-force energy in our bodies, along with meditation practices and chanting. The work initially is to clear out any negative energy patterns in the body to allow oneself to be a clearer channel for Source energy, God, or Life to express. We then learn to use this energy to heal oneself and others.  To learn more, visit www.mentalphysics.net

From its beginnings, this land has been an energy vortex immersed in a protective aura. Ding Le Mei, as Dingle became known, taught a mixture of meditation, pranayama (breath work), affirmations and other spiritual practices that lead to balance of body, mind and spirit. His philosophy of MentalPhysics is based on the way the mind creates the physical world and it would eventually make its way to over 220,000 students worldwide.

The great leaders Ding Le Mei had envisioned came to him as well. Yogananda walked the grounds and had his own desert retreat in 29 Palms where he spent the last years of his life. Shirley MacLaine was here at the beginning of her spiritual quest. JZ Knight (Ramtha) held retreats here before building her facility in Oregon. The founder of Astara was a student of MentalPhysics. And that’s just the beginning. Jack Kornfield has been leading groups here for 25 years, Alberto Villoldo for more than 10. Many more have been drawn to this sacred land, including Byron Katie, Jean Houston, Ram Dass, Lama Surya Das, Stanislav Grof, Joe Dispenza, Dan Millman, Swamiji Vethathiri Maharishi, Lynn Andrews, Ken Page, Stephen Levine, Terry Cole-Whittaker, Moshe Feldenkrais, Joseph Heller, Gabrielle Roth, Kalu Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe, Geshe Gyeltsen, Zong Rinpoche, Swami Vishwananda, and Sun Bear. Hundreds of thousands from around the world have embarked on journeys of power and mystery to absorb the wisdom of these great teachers, as well as that of the ancient rocks and trees.